Greens Have It Their Own Way

Toyota Prius’ hybrid engine takes home a record four trophies in one year, including the overall title of International Engine of the Year 2004

Toyota makes the world’s most outstanding engine – and it’s gained the accolade with a hybrid powertrain!

The 1.5-litre internal combustion engine/electric motor combo as housed in the Prius family car has been voted International Engine of the Year 2004. This advanced Toyota powerplant also scooped the prizes for the Best New Engine of 2004, Best Fuel Economy Engine, and Best 1.4-litre to 1.8-litre.

The sixth-annual International Engine of the Year Awards’ results were decided by a jury comprising 56 of the most read and experienced motoring journalists from 24 countries – this year judges from China and Egypt were added to a mix that already includes the USA, UK, Germany, Japan, Argentina, and South Korea. Members of the judging panel represent globally recognised media such as the USA’s Car and Driver and Playboy magazines, as well as the UK’s Car magazine and Australia’s Wheels. These judges labelled the Toyota Prius Hybrid, "a truly remarkable engine", and said it "raises the hybrid bar with a combination of better driveability, more technology, and more eco-friendliness".

But Toyota wasn’t the only triumphant Japanese firm: Mazda, winner of last year’s International Engine of the Year title, saw its RX-8’s RENESIS Rotary unit top its category, while Honda took home three trophies; one each for its Insight hybrid, Civic hybrid and the 2-litre found in the S2000.

Elsewhere in this closely fought competition, BMW won Best 2-litre to 2.5-litre, and Best 3-litre to 4-litre categories (see overleaf for more). These victories mean the Bavarian company has held on to its position as the most successful car maker in the Awards’ six-year history, with 20 trophies – Honda, the world’s most prolific engine builder, has won 19.

Fellow German marques, Volkswagen and Mercedes-AMG, also had reason to celebrate. VW’s 5-litre V10 diesel was voted the best Above 4-litre unit for a second consecutive year, while Mercedes-AMG’s 65 has been named the world’s greatest performance engine, beating the likes of Ferrari and Porsche.

Published 30 May 2004 Melanie Carter

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